Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

The Amphibian Antimicrobial Peptide Temporin B Inhibits In Vitro Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Infection.

PMID 29483113


The herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is widespread in the population, and in most cases its infection is asymptomatic. The currently available anti-HSV-1 drugs are acyclovir and its derivatives, although long-term therapy with these agents can lead to drug resistance. Thus, the discovery of novel antiherpetic compounds deserves additional effort. Naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) represent an interesting class of molecules with potential antiviral properties. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first demonstration of the in vitro anti-HSV-1 activity of temporin B (TB), a short membrane-active amphibian AMP. In particular, when HSV-1 was preincubated with 20 μg/ml TB, significant antiviral activity was observed (a 5-log reduction of the virus titer). Such an effect was due to the disruption of the viral envelope, as demonstrated by transmission electron microscopy. Moreover, TB partially affected different stages of the HSV-1 life cycle, including the attachment and the entry of the virus into the host cell, as well as the subsequent postinfection phase. Furthermore, its efficacy was confirmed on human epithelial cells, suggesting TB as a novel approach for the prevention and/or treatment of HSV-1 infections.